If you’re an avid viewer of WWE’s Friday Night SmackDown, you’re well aware that the face of the program is the Apex Predator, Randy Orton. If you’re sick of Orton being the top dog on the show, you’re probably thinking of possible candidates to replace him as SmackDown’s main guy.
The obvious names that come to mind are those of Wade Barrett, Christian, Cody Rhodes and Ezekiel Jackson. Well, actually, Ezekiel Jackson’s name is probably one of the last that come to mind when thinking of the next mega SmackDown superstar.
I’m here to tell you that it shouldn’t. I’ve been a fan of Jackson’s since he was doing The Brian Kendrick’s dirty work for him a few years back.
He has the look, charm and in-ring abilities to eventually become one of SmackDown’s premier wrestlers. Of course, in order for this to become a reality, Jackson will need some critical guidance and advice—perhaps even from myself.
Here are 10 ways Ezekiel Jackson can become the new face of SmackDown.
If WWE wants Ezekiel Jackson to gain more momentum on SmackDown, they could turn him heel again. To me, Jackson is more effective when he’s booked to be a type of big, bad bully.
The problem with this, however, is that switching him back and forth between good guy and bad guy personas could confuse the fans so much that he could lack a true identity and fall through the cracks—the polar opposite of becoming the face of a brand.
The WWE bookers should proceed with caution here.
When it comes to unbeaten streaks in professional wrestling, the legendary Goldberg owns the gold standard. I’m not saying that Ezekiel Jackson should be challenging this distinctive winning streak.
However, a nice, modest winning streak could create a buzz around Jackson. And a winning streak would be a suitable way to build up Jackson as this unstoppable force. Booking Jackson on SmackDown as a force like that would be much more believable than booking Randy Orton in that role—something the show’s writers have inexplicably done for years now.
Social media has done wonders for everybody’s favorite Internet Champion, Zach Ryder. He gained a huge cult following through Facebook, Twitter and YouTube despite going weeks at a time without appearing on major WWE television.
While Ezekiel Jackson won’t ever have the same appeal as Long Island’s favorite son, he would be wise to take a page out of Ryder’s book and embrace social media, nonetheless. If anything, attempting to become more relevant through social media is an outside-the-box way of becoming more popular with the fans.
While managers don’t hold the clout they did back in the older days of professional wrestling, finding the right manager could still pay dividends in the career of an aspiring wrestler like Ezekiel Jackson. Since bringing Vickie Guerrero on board as his manager, Dolph Ziggler’s career has taken off.
Perhaps acquiring Guerrero’s services—or someone of similar stature—can provide impressive results for Jackson as well. It would be interesting to see if there’s someone in—or outside of—WWE who can maximize Jackson’s full potential.
One of the easiest ways for a wrestler to earn fans’ respect and attention is to participate in some electrifying matches. This could be Ezekiel Jackson’s best bet in regards to making more of a name for himself.
Of course, in order to get the fans talking, WWE needs to find an exceptional wrestler for Jackson to tangle with. If Jackson were to revert back to a heel, then Daniel Bryan would be a good candidate here. Bryan has proven that he’s very capable of carrying the most inept of wrestlers in a match. I’m sure he would have no problems making Jackson look good.
Wrestling some memorable matches is just part of becoming involved in a classic wrestling rivalry. Pitting Ezekiel Jackson against a worthy rival for a few months could catapult Jackson’s career.
One SmackDown star that comes to mind here is Christian. He could be thrust into a feud with Jackson upon his return from injury.
And we all know that Captain Charisma is capable of making both himself and his rival look good in the ring and in promos. Perhaps his magic could brush off on Jackson. Plus, this was quite the rivalry back when the two were tangling for the now-defunct ECW title.
With the exception of the robotic Randy Orton, if a wrestler wants to become the face of SmackDown, he needs to possess solid microphone skills. While Ezekiel Jackson has the physique to become a main-event star, his mic skills are still very, very raw at this point. His Caribbean accent is considered a handicap by some, but this doesn’t excuse Jackson from becoming a more charismatic speaker.
If he can somehow find a way to improve in this aspect, he’ll be on the road to becoming the next big SmackDown star.
A good stepping stone in Ezekiel Jackson’s potential rise to the top would be reclaiming the prestigious Intercontinental Championship. Cody Rhodes currently holds the Intercontinental title, but I truly believe he’s ready for a serious World Heavyweight Title push in the near future.
If Rhodes was to relinquish the IC title in favor of the World title, it could open the door for Jackson to win back the IC belt he lost to Rhodes. A sustained IC title run could boost Jackson’s status as one of the more prominent SmackDown superstars.
If you want to get to the top in WWE, forming or becoming part of a stable is a possible way to go. Being part of Legacy turned Randy Orton and Cody Rhodes into bona fide stars.
And before that, Orton and Batista rose to fame in the legendary Evolution. Ezekiel Jackson was part of a stable (the Corre) once before.
If he were to turn heel again, perhaps Jackson could call upon his old Corre buddies for a reunion. Or he could form an entirely new stable with some up-and-coming talent. If WWE bookers want to see Jackson’s career take off, the stable route may be the way to go.
Whether you’re Ezekiel Jackson or anybody else, life as a WWE mid-card wrestler is difficult.
With the big-time stars always hogging the majority of the spotlight and air time (especially in the wake of the Raw Supershow), mid-carders like Jackson must take advantage of the few opportunities they’re given.
It seems like the best way for Jackson to impress the fans, writers and commentators right now is to simply wow them in the few SmackDown matches he’s currently given. Jackson definitely has his work cut out for him if he’s ever going to be the face of SmackDown. But as they say, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”